Creature Feature

So, after 34 years of living in Boca Raton (minus the four years I spent at the University of Florida in Gainesville), I finally took the plunge and moved somewhere else.  My husband and I were tired of the hectic life South Florida has to offer, as well as the congestion and the ever-entitled and mostly older crowd who call it home.  Not to say there aren’t wonderful folks down there, you just have to know where to look.  Unfortunately, the encounters with nasty people were becoming less and less few and far between.  (Did you really just cut me off and give me the finger?! And, “You’re welcome” would be the proper response when I hold the door open for you.)

After visiting a friend in St. Augustine, we fell in love with North Florida—it has great food and bars (very important), no traffic, lots of nature to explore, amazing schools and friendly, well-mannered people.  That being said, sometimes those differences take a lot of getting used to.  I still jump when someone I don’t know says “Good morning!” or “How is your Tuesday going?” and I am still surprised at the grocery store when the cashier wants to inspect my eggs before putting them in the bag to make sure none are cracked. I am definitely not in Kansas anymore.

After checking out multiple areas, we decided on building a home in Ponte Vedra, in one of the largest growing master-planned communities in the country, Nocatee. Apparently, builders are notorious for never being on time, so our August closing date turned into October—and that means we have to rent for a while before we get to move into our new home.

You would think growing up in Boca, I would be used to bugs—Florida, in general, is full of them—especially cockroaches.  Roaches don’t faze me anymore (ok, so I’m lying, they still startle the crap out of me).  I know they carry icky diseases, and probably can crawl into places I don’t want to know about when I’m sleeping (ewww!); but they don’t bite or sting or cause immediate bodily harm.  Spiders do.  And although we did have the occasional spider in our old home in Boca, I wasn’t killing three to four of them every few days. 

Spiders creep me out like no other bug can (I know, they aren’t really bugs. They are arachnids, but I’m referring to them as bugs anyway, so lay off). They are just plain scary looking; and as fast as lighting at scurrying away (must be those gosh darn eight legs of theirs). 

After a few days of spider killing, I did the unthinkable and Googled “North Florida spiders.”  Just a word of advice…don’t EVER do this.  You may never sleep again.  Not only are there brown recluse (which I already knew about from college), but apparently there are black widows, white widows and brown widows, too—spiders with bites that cause tissue necrosis and possible death.  Did you know “the brown recluse venom is even more potent that that of a rattlesnake?” (emedicinehealth.com) Say what??? Thankfully, I don’t think these are the types that are lurking in our townhome, but I check my sneakers every morning before I put them on, just to be safe.  We did call the pest control company to spray for them (and a friend told me next time I should spray the eaves with lemon water—apparently spiders abhor citrus, who knew?), but those pesky arachnids still manage to emerge from their hiding places—although we haven’t had as many. Guess that’s why we haven’t seen any roaches—they probably make excellent spider meals.

Our townhouse has a lake in the backyard.  It’s beautiful and serene, with a preserve behind it and more than 20 different species of birds. There are also turtles and, of course, gators.  In fact, I stare out the window and have my morning coffee with my gator friend almost every day. Fortunately, he (or she?) stays in the lake. I was disappointed when we decided to build a new home, that there were no lake lots available at the time. Not so much anymore.

The other night we were getting ready to leave the house to take our son to Jujitsu.  He accidently had put on my husbands flip flops (they have the same ones, and, at 13, they are almost the same size).  My husband, Keith, was going nuts trying to find his shoes, which caused us to run a little late.  Normally, my kids race to be the first ones out the door; but because of the whole shoe fiasco, I was the first one this time.  I opened the door, and before I could register what I saw, I slammed it shut and put my back against it. 

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